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Scholarship plea not maintainable, observes High Court

‘No cause of action has accrued within the territorial jurisdiction of Court’

Post by Syed Rukaya on Tuesday, December 27, 2022

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Srinagar, Dec 26: The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh Monday declined to entertain a petition filed by Suresh Gyan Vihar University which is based in Jaipur seeking to sanction the amount of Prime Minister's Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) in favour of 271 leftover students of J&K.
Dismissing the plea, Justice M.A Chowdhary held the petition to be "non-maintainable" due to lack of jurisdiction.
Justice Chowdhary recorded that the Court, while exercising writ jurisdiction, has discretion to decide the same and the discretion cannot be used in favour of the party, which deliberately invokes the jurisdiction of the Court which has no jurisdiction whatsoever.
The bench said that ‘no cause of action’ has accrued within the territorial jurisdiction of this Court.
The petitioner University had sought a direction to the Government of India and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), New Delhi to sanction the amount of scholarship comprising tuition fee, hostel fee, mess charges and other incidentals including the consequential renewals till the completion of the course in favour of 271 leftover J&K students for the Session 2014-15 as per the scheme and credit the same to the account of the University as per the scale prescribed in guidelines of PMSSS and as per the approved fee structure of the petitioner-University.
However, the AICTE, which is the implementing Agency under the Scheme raised a preliminary objection regarding the locus of the University to file the writ petition, on the ground that the scholarship is granted to the students and not to the Colleges or Universities.
It contended that the litigation was sponsored by the University and its conduct is highly objectionable as in the first instance it admitted the students of its own without proper permission of the respondent or concerned authority and after completion of their courses the University filed the writ petition to obtain the wrongful gain.
The AICTE through counsel argued that the University is not approved under Section 12 B of the UGC Act for the Scheme and does not have approval of the AICTE for all its engineering branches except Information & Technology Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science Engineering and the University has admitted the students in all the programs of the University.
As per the response filed by GoI, the students from J&K were required to apply under the scheme on the AICTE portal and only those eligible students, who were within the merit list and had been allotted colleges through centralized counselling or had taken admission on their own in college or University either approved under Section 12 B of UGC Act or recognized by AICTE or by other regulatory authority.
It was stated that the applications forwarded by the government of J&K were to be considered for award of scholarship under the scheme.
The respondents submitted that 271 leftover students have not been found eligible for scholarship under the Special Scholarship Scheme for J&K due to “not in merit”, courses not approved by AICTE or either for other reasons, therefore, 271 left over ineligible students of Suresh Gyan Vihar University of the academic year 2014-15 cannot be considered and granted scholarship under the Scheme.
Hearing the parties, the bench noted that since the University is Jaipur based in Rajasthan and claims reimbursement of the expenses incurred with regard to tuition fee, hostel fee, cost of books and other incidental expenses borne out by the University for having admitted, on its own, the students of J&K under the PMSSS, which has been denied to the leftover 271 students of Session 2014-15 by AICTE, who is also Delhi based.
"The cause of action, under the given circumstances, cannot be said to have wholly or partly accrued within the jurisdiction of this Court," the court said.
Adding that, "Therefore, without going into the merits of the case, this petition is not worth to be entertained, in the light of the aforementioned settled legal position and ‘no cause of action’ having arisen within the territorial jurisdiction of this Court.

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